The International Ecotourism Society defines Eco-Tourism as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people. Sarasota Bay is a popular destination for individuals and families that appreciate natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Easy access to the recreation and education opportunities throughout Sarasota Bay is a major draw for residents and visitors from around the world.
Healthy ecosystems make significant economic contributions, but often in ways that transcend conventional accounting. Florida ranks as the second highest state (after California) in the number of people participating in wildlife-viewing recreation. Since 2001, the number of people who visited Florida to view wildlife increased by 50 percent. In 2006 total retail sales for wildlife viewing in Florida was estimated at $3.1 billion ($2.4 billion by residents and $653.3 million by nonresidents). These expenditures support a total economic impact on the Florida economy of $5.2 billion.
View the SBEP’s Gulf Coast Heritage Trail Map to guide your eco-tourism adventures in the Sarasota Bay watershed.
Local Eco-Tourism Resources
- Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Discover Natural Sarasota
- Around The Bend Nature Tours
- Sarasota Bay Explorers
- MOTE Aquarium
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
- Sarasota County Parks
- Manatee County Parks
- Florida State Parks
- Great Florida Birding Trail
- South Florida Museum